Charging the customer for BOPIS?

John Lewis, a large UK-based retailer, has begun charging some customers to cover the processing costs of “buy online – pick up in store” (BOPIS) orders. Most RetailWire panelists agree with me that this is not a good idea:

It’s hard for the consumer to tell the difference between a BOPIS order that was picked from a distribution center and one that was picked from a store’s inventory…which seems to be the growing trend. So it would be hard to explain why she was asked to pay more for a product that (as far as she knows) is already in the store’s inventory. From the customer’s standpoint, why stop there, and why not charge her for the right to shop in the store in the first place? Unless you’re Costco, good luck with that.

Bottom line: I don’t see BOPIS charges happening anytime soon in the U.S. retail environment. Stores that are racing to figure out how to make BOPIS work for their market share aren’t about to pass along costs to the consumer, and the idea of “free shipping” as a settled practice would make BOPIS hard to swallow.

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